- 1 Selection Of The Best Dog Agility Tunnels
- 2 Best Dog Agility Tunnel Buying Guide
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Sources
If you’re getting ready to train your dog in agility, then the best dog agility tunnel is a must-have for your home course.
You’ll also want to add some other training aids, like jumps and towers, but agility tunnels are a great start to your tools.
Do you have a dog with a lot of energy? Maybe they wear out the automatic dog ball launcher or can’t stay still long enough for you to use a dog nail clipper. These are the dogs that need a calming dog collar or dog recovery suit just so they can relax.
Corgis and sheep dogs are just two breeds known for their energy and intelligence. And there are plenty of mutts out there that are as smart and active as any purebred. Dogs like that need physical and mental challenges otherwise they can develop bad behaviors.
Instead of watching them tear apart another dog chew toy, dog fetch toy, or dog plush toy, why not get to training them? Grab a dog whistle, a dog interactive toy, their dog training collar and get started with agility training!
And, when you’re all done, don’t forget the dog cooling pad and dog treats. Then, they’ll be worn out enough that you can give them a bath in their dog pool with enough time to use the dog shampoo and dog conditioner.
Selection Of The Best Dog Agility Tunnels
Here are the best dog agility tunnels for most people according to Outlinist:
Best Dog Agility Tunnel Buying Guide
Your dog agility tunnel diameter is one of the most important details you need to determine, because it will tell you if your dog could even fit in there. If your dog can’t fit without significant bending, then you need a wider option.
AKC standard is 24 inches in height, but you can find options that are 24″ or higher. Some of them are even tall enough to accommodate giant breeds, like Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds, which can be over 30″ at the shoulder.
The dog agility tunnel size considerations should also include the length. The AKC standard is between 10 feet and 20 feet. This is so there is enough length for the dog to have a challenge
If your dog is new to agility, then they will do well with an 8 to 10 foot tunnel. If they’ve been at it for a while, then feel free to go even longer. 20 feet may sound like a long way, but when your dog is zipping around, they get through it really quickly.
Open or Closed
Do you want to be able to see your dog (and, in turn, your dog to see you) while it’s running through there? Then a chute-style or clear agility tunnel with windows may be a good consideration – you can also find mesh options that you can see through as well.
If your dog is easily distracted, you will likely be better off using a closed-style tunnel, which will block their vision (other than at the entrance and exit) and make it easier for them to get through the tunnel quickly.
Type of Material
The material that a tunnel is made from needs to be able to last. Your dog has claws and, if they aren’t experienced in using a tunnel, they could cause rips and tears due to being clumsy or just being a dog.
The most durable options that you’ll find are polyblend and nylon. These are both very difficult to rip and they will last a lot longer. As previously mentioned, mesh is good if you want an open-style tunnel, but you only want the mesh to be on the top half of the tunnel so that the dog’s claws don’t get caught in it.
The support rings that make up the “sections” of the tunnel should be as heavy duty and as thick as they possibly can be without hindering your dog’s movement. If they aren’t, then you will find that they collapse or break if they are put under too much pressure.
If you’re looking at steel or very heavy plastic for your tunnel rings, you’re in good shape. Don’t get aluminum ringed tunnels unless the aluminum has been reinforced with another metal or compound.
When you’re looking at a dog agility practice tunnel, you have training in mind. That means your dog will mess up, make mistakes, and generally fumble through while they’re trying to learn exactly what they’re supposed to do.
As a result, you want to be sure that the tunnel is going to last a long time. The right mix of construction materials, plus high quality stitching and material coating, will help your tunnel to last a very long time.
Where will it go when you aren’t using it? While some models are so heavy-duty that you could just leave them outside, others are not. And, honestly, they’ll last longer if you put them away.
Look for a tunnel that folds up like an accordion. These will usually use buttons or Velcro to hold everything together, and then you will have a much easier time storing it away. Just be sure that you fasten it correctly, or you could end up with a mess in the area you store it in.
Part of agility training is ensuring that the tunnel won’t move around while your dog is trying to run through it. A heavy duty dog agility tunnel usually has enough weight in the bottom to stay stable. You could also use sandbags to keep your tunnel firmly in place.
For an extra layer of stability, you can also buy dog agility tunnel weights. Some models of tunnels will come with stakes or grommets, like what you see for a tent, that you can use in order to secure the tunnel in place.
Can It Connect With Other Tunnels?
Some dogs really love tunnels, and they love the challenge that a labyrinth-style tunnel would bring to them. In those cases, you may want to get two or three tunnels that you link together in the back yard.
Take a look at the ends of the tunnel. Do they have ties or other things that you can use to secure one to another in this manner? Or, does the description say that you can put them together with something like Velcro? If so, make that maze!
If your dog starts doing agility in competitions, you’ll see that they are never in a straight line. Instead, there are usually one or two curves. You want to be able to add those little turns to your tunnel at home, as well.
For most models, the fabric is flexible enough that you can make those curves with ease. Some polyblends can be more rigid, thus making it more difficult to put in turns and other challenges for your pup.
If you’re going to put your dog tunnel in a back yard, then you want it to be waterproof as well. While keeping it outdoors 24/7 isn’t recommended, you can still use it in a slight drizzle or if there’s snow on the ground.
On top of that, if you have a puppy, there are likely to be accidents while you’re trying to teach them how to use the tunnel. You want to be sure that urine isn’t going to stain or harm the material if that happens.
Does It Come With a Bag?
Many of us like to take our dogs to different locations while teaching them agility. Not only that, but you may want to continue their agility training while traveling with your pup.
Because of that, many manufacturers now sell their agility tunnels inside of agility tunnel bags. These are great, both for transportation and for storage. You can also go online and learn how to make your own bags, if your particular model doesn’t come with one.
While your furry friend is learning how to use their agility tunnel, you want to be certain that they are as safe as possible from loose strings, wires, and whatever else may be in there.
Many agility tunnels now have extra padding on the inside of them for just that reason. This makes it safer for the dog to run through the tunnel and, even if they trip on their paws they aren’t going to get as injured as they could have otherwise.
Ease of Cleaning
Tunnels get dirty! While it may never get to the point that you have to use your dog pooper scooper, you may need to wipe it down with some cleaning solution and a soft cloth on occasion.
How easily are you able to get inside of there? If you’re looking at an AKC regulation sized tunnel, you should be able to crawl in no problem. And, most of the materials we’ve recommended (specifically nylon) are really easy to wipe down.
Indoor or Outdoor?
Where will you be using the tunnel? Will you stake it outdoors in an agility course, or will you be using it inside so the dog can burn off excess energy on a rainy day? Knowing the tunnel’s primary use can help you decide which of the above traits are most important for your particular tunnel.
The best dog agility tunnel for your dog is going to fit your lifestyle, and whether you’re training inside or outside, you’ll be able to find one that works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is agility training good for dogs?
Agility is a great way to get your dog focused and work off some energy. This is especially important if you have a dog that is unusually intelligent, like a border collie or other herding breed.
It also teaches your dog discipline. As time goes on and the dog gets more used to agility training, the dog that could never carry their dog backpack without tearing it off will be able to do so unassisted, and may be able to go off leash without you being concerned about it.
How early can I start training my dog in agility?
The earlier that you start teaching your dog their dog agility tunnel exercises, the better they will be at it and the more responsive that they will be to any training that you may do.
There are a handful of beginner-style tunnels out there that you can get for puppies. They are shorter in length and have smaller diameters so that your puppy doesn’t get overwhelmed by the size.
Are some breeds better at agility training than others?
Absolutely! Herding dogs like Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Shetland Sheepdogs are some of the best options. Standard poodles, Corgis, Labs, and Goldens are also really quick to catch on.
More stubborn breeds of dogs, like Beagles, some Terriers, Dachshunds, and Shar Peis, may have more difficulty. Large breeds, like Mastiffs, may struggle as well. But, any dog can be an agility dog if you train them early on and you’re committed to training them.
Do agility tunnels have other uses?
If you purchase a dog agility set only to find that your dog doesn’t like the agility thing, there are still a handful of things that you can do with their tunnels and other equipment.
For example, your dog could still play with the tunnel. If it’s a smaller tunnel and you have cats or other small animals, they may also get some enjoyment out of it as well.
Why do AKC / NADAC regulations matter?
Do you want your dog to compete? Then it’s worth spending the money to get some certified competition agility equipment so that they’re prepared when it’s time to actually get to a competition.
Not only that, but if you look at the regulation sizes – at least 10 feet in length, at least 30 inches in height – you will also find that pretty much any dog (unless you’re looking at really large breeds) can fit in the tunnel without any trouble.
- How FEMA Search and Rescue Canine Teams Have the World's Toughest Job Interview, FEMA, Jun 9, 2015
- Dog Bark Parks, City of Chandler
- New military working dog equipment sets give service handlers a paw up, U.S. Army, Mar 19, 2015
- Introduction to UKC Agility, K-State
- Dog agility, Wikipedia
- How to get started with dog agility training, Cesar's Way
- Dog Agility Equipment for Backyard Training and Just Plain Fun, American Kennel Club, Jul 31, 2017
- Teach your dog to go through an Agility Tunnel, YouTube, Apr 25, 2017
- History of dog agility, Wikipedia
- How to Train Your Dog in Agility Sports, The Spruce Pets, Jan 27, 2019